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Man gets jail after dog dies in hot car

A Butte Falls man admitted in court Tuesday that he neglected his dog, leading to the animal’s death in a hot car while he stayed in a Medford hotel.

Charles Raymond Sutton Jr., 23, pleaded guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court to a misdemeanor charge of first-degree animal neglect, admitting he left a 4-year-old miniature pinscher inside a vehicle with the windows up for about 24 hours in the 2000 block of Hospitality Way from Saturday evening through the heat of the day Sunday, according to court documents.

Outdoor temperatures topped 90 degrees Sunday.

About 6 p.m. Sunday, Sutton rushed the dog to Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center and reportedly told veterinary staff he forgot the dog was in the vehicle, according to court documents filed by Medford police.

Sutton avoided a drug charge Tuesday, court records show. After he pleaded guilty to the animal neglect charge, prosecutors dropped a felony heroin-possession charge alleging police found a bag of heroin inside Sutton’s body during the jail booking process, and also dismissed a misdemeanor animal abuse charge.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Sutton remained held in the Jackson County Jail without bail on the animal neglect conviction, and for violating his probation on a prior vehicle theft conviction, records show. He was ordered held in jail until Friday.

Sutton’s case was one of two in which police charged people with leaving dogs in hot cars Sunday, although the other owner’s dog did not die.

With warmer temperatures, Medford police warned pet owners not to leave animals in a vehicle, even if the vehicle is in the shade and the windows are cracked open, or else a pet owner could be charged with a crime or find their car window broken open to rescue the animal. Anyone who spots a pet in a vehicle is asked to call dispatchers at 541-770-4783.

On an 85-degree day, a car’s interior can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 30 minutes, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which said cracked windows won’t prevent a car from overheating. Dogs with dark coats, that are overweight, elderly or have thick coats are most at-risk of getting overheated.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

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